Archive for October, 2009
CBS News Investigative Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson asked Dr. Andrew Wakefield about the controversy surrounding his original study in 1998 on autistic children and MMR vaccine and his work including a recent study comparing the developmental differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated animals.
Dr. Wakefield’s study, Delayed Acquisition of Neonatal Reflexes…, shows significant harm from one birth dose of a mercury-containing vaccine.
Importantly, it concludes that “there is a bowel disease in children with autism which is new and has not been investigated and may well be related to the developmental regression since they occur around the same time…and the association needs to be thoroughly investigated.”
This remarkable interview highlights both Ms. Attkisson journalistic integrity and Dr. Wakefield’s courageous advocacy, as well as the integrity of CBS for allowing Ms. Atkisson to do her job so well.
For those managing the one in three American children with autism, allergies, ADHD or asthma, it may be worth a minute or two to watch the CBS Story with Sharyl Atkisson and Dr. Andrew Wakefield.
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Stories of autism grip the headlines: from John Travolta’s poignant memories of his son, Jett, to the Center for Disease Controls new study that highlights the growing pervasiveness of autism.
Brought to light in the movie Rain Man, autism is a condition that only 15 years ago was estimated to affect 1 in 2000 children. Today, it affects 1 in 91, with new research from the journal Pediatrics now estimating the lifetime medical costs being born by families coping with autism to be $1.6 million.
Autism has become irrefutable.
And thankfully, Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius recognizes this: “We need a new focus and new resources because autism has emerged as an urgent public health challenge”
As we come together as a society to find the resources to address the needs of our our children and the families that care for them, perhaps we should pause and watch what an indominitable spirit can accomplish.
As in the words of Raymond Williams, “to be truly radical is to make hope possible.”
Over the weekend, the New York Times ran a story that struck fear into the hearts of eaters across America: a young woman, stricken with E.coli, paralyzed after eating a burger.
There, by the grace of God, go any of us.
The New York Times report on flaws in the food safety system cited cases in Minnesota. In response to the flurry of media, viral messages and You Tube postings, the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, flew to Minnesota to respond.
In a speech at the University of Minnesota, Vilsack told Minnesota Public Radio News that the administration will ask Congress for legislation to permit mandatory recalls of tainted food.
While Vilsack’s responsiveness is appreciated, his words promising that the administration will “ask” Congress for its permission to crack down on BIG FOOD is like a child promising his mother that he won’t put his hand in the cookie jar after she has “asked” him repeatedly to take it out.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2009, the Agribusiness Industry (those responsible for our food supply) has a total of 1,071 lobbyists who have spent $69,077,420 on lobbying efforts in 2009 to date. Given that there are approximately 75 million American children, that is roughly the equivalent of spending almost $1 per child in America to lobby against regulation for higher food safety standards.
Perhaps we should suggest our children save their allowances in the hopes that we could form a Mommy Lobby and challenge the interests of the corporations funding these lobbying efforts whose CEOs compensation is dependent upon their fulfillment of fiduciary duties to their shareholders.
We are all stakeholders in the food supply, whether we own the stocks or not. And 300 million of us eat. Together, we can Do Something.
Today’s headlines are enough to make any mother quake.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism rates have doubled. Research published this morning in the journal Pediatrics reveals that in the U.S. in 2007 about 1 in 91 children ages 3 to 17 were somewhere on the autism spectrum. That’s more than any previous survey has found.
The new study then goes on to cite earlier research showing that the life-time medical cost of dealing with ASD is $1.6 million; other research cited says ASD-related costs borne by the health-care system rose 142 percent from 2000 to 2004.
While industry funded ‘experts’ may suggest that this study is based on subjective data, industry funded ‘experts’ also suggest that a bowl of Cocoa Krispies is a SMART CHOICE for our children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there has been a 265% increase in the rate of hospitalizations related to food allergic reactions, 1 in 2 minority children and 1 in 3 Caucasian children born in the year 2000 (this year’s fourth graders) are expected to be insulin dependent by the time they reach adulthood and now 1 in 91 children has some degree of autism.
Today, health care spending represents 17% of our GDP, but perhaps it is time that we view our children as more than just a sales channel for Big Pharma’s money making medicine.
The unhealthy truth is that today 1 in 3 American children now has autism, allergies, ADHD or asthma.
In 1946, Harry Truman said, “A nation is only as healthy as its children.”
Shouldn’t we stop playing Russian Roulette with ours?
Our industrialized agricultural system in the US is dependent on fossil fuel. Conventional food production and distribution requires a tremendous amount of energy—one study conducted in 2000 estimated that ten percent of the energy used annually in the United States was consumed by the food industry. More recent studies suggest that this number is now closer to 17 percent.
• Most pesticides are petroleum-(oil) based
• Increasing numbers of food additives and colorants are petroleum-(oil) based
• All commercial fertilizers are ammonia-based. Ammonia is produced from natural gas
• Oil allowed for farming implements such as tractors, food storage systems such as refrigerators, and food transport systems such as trucks
• In the US, the average piece of food is transported almost 1,500 miles before it gets to your plate.
• Commercial food production is oil powered.
To use the words of Richard Heinberg, a “peak oil” scholar and author of The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies: “How dependent on oil is our food system? Enormously dependent. Fatally dependent, I would say.”
So what can you do to keep this unhealthy ingredient out of your kitchen?
• Eat Foods You Can Pronounce (chances are they contain fewer artificial colors, additive and dyes)
• Think Like Your Grandmother (did she have a jar of Yellow #5 on her kitchen counter?)
• Plant something (just one thing…remember those lima beans in school? Don’t be intimidated!)
• Cook it once, eat it twice (recycle those noodles for salad or that chicken in a stir fry)
• Don’t make “the perfect” the enemy of “the good” (every little step makes a difference!)
And if you think that one small thing can’t make a difference, remember that we are, each of us, a ripple of hope. And that together, we can affect remarkable change.